Loving intentions: Mother wants her little darlings to look cute and be well liked and become more popular. So, starting soon after birth, she keeps them in the latest kids’ fashions.
Unintended consequences compound for years:
· Kids in the weans don’t care how they look. Other than being warm and dry, clothes bore them. Little girls playing dolls and dress up are an exception, but it doesn’t affect the rest of this story.
· Kids learn that moms are supposed to spend time, effort, and money to make them look better, more well-liked, more popular.
· Girls look like Shirley Temple. Mom looks like Raggedy Ann, because she lives vicariously through her daughter
· Kids become eye candy for perverts and predators.
· Mom prompts and kids learn to focus on looks rather than character.
· Kids learn to deal with one conflict of the tweens. Mom says fashionable clothes generate popularity. Kids learn acceptance is both easier and more important than popularity, but they still yearn for the latter.
· The approach of puberty makes kids more clothes conscious. They learn that fashion is not only essential, but the latest is more so.
· Kids enter teen years, and clothes consciousness assumes its own independence. They accept late fashions as necessary to their appearance and, hence, acceptance by peers and potential for popularity.
· Fashion statements become critical for one’s popularity. Independence must be shown. Looking different from one’s parents crowns this emerging independent spirit.
· Mom must pay, but taste belongs to kids. They fully expect to stay fashionable in teen years, because mom awakened the spirit in the weans and tweens.
· Mom liked the kids being fashionable, when she set standards, shopped, and selected. After puberty, she objects to teen independence, style, fashions, and costs. Too extreme for her.
· Mom remembers having heard that clothes make the person. She now sees her priceless kids attired so different from her expectations.
· Teen years fill up with family squabbles over style, substance, standards, costs, and choices of attire.
· Self-esteem takes a hit. Teens assume that mom no longer likes them. She changed so drastically when they wanted to define what makes them look good, well liked, and popular.
· Until mom’s self-imposed problems arose, husband/father/stepfather was largely ignored. His interests don’t lie in keeping kids fashionable.
· To men, clothes make the man, not the boy. Childhood is for play. Being well liked is far less important then becoming well accomplished and prepared for adulthood.
· He’s ill prepared to solve the unintended consequences of mom’s good and loving intentions.
Such multiple consequences haunt throughout the teen years and harsh feelings may linger beyond.
NOTE: I’m not against fashion, fashionable or fashion statements—for adults. Keeping kids in the latest fashions treats them as adults, and that’s the problem. Good intentions smash family harmony after they pass through puberty. I hope to publish more on family disharmony caused by elevating kids and treating them as adults.